Tag Archive for Redlands

Update: Bike rider mugged on Ballona Creek bike path; Redlands driver attempts to run down cyclists

Are the Ballona badlands back?

In a crime reminiscent of the bad old days of five years ago, when bike riders were attacked in two separate assaults on the Ballona Creek Bike Path, a cyclist was mugged on the popular bikeway Friday evening.

According to a comment from Mark Neumann, a friend of his was assaulted by three men in an attempt to steal his bike.

On Friday night about 6 pm while riding home from work, a friend of mine got assaulted on his bike riding the Ballona Creek bike path in Culver City on Friday. His words: “He threw his bike into my front wheel as I was about to pass him going about 20 mph. So that dumped me straight onto my shoulder and ribs. I hopped up and the guy was starting to pull my bike away. I told him no and grabbed it back. Wasn’t thinking straight with all the adrenaline cause he pulled it back and started reaching in his pocket. But then he let go and ran off. That’s when I started to feel the injuries and that I couldn’t breathe from the ribs and punctured lung. Feeling better today but the ribs hurt like a mother. Hope to get the chest tube out tomorrow and then get home.” Three guys caused him to crash and tried to steal his bike. He has 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle, collapsed lung and some good road rash. He is doing well at UCLA but in lots of pain and unable to move.  Be careful on this path.

Unfortunately, things like this are nothing new.

And not restricted to the Ballona bikeway.

An August, 1990 article in the LA Times reports that the Automobile Club of Southern California had warned its bike riding members to avoid Ballona Creek due to dangerous conditions there — a risk made evident when a rider was shot to death on the bike path near Marina del Rey that July.

And it was just two years ago that riders were attacked in at least four separate incidents on the Greenway Trail in Wittier, including a woman who was severely beaten before her attackers ran off without taking anything. Or, thankfully, doing anything other than beating the crap out of her.

It’s a fear that leads many riders, especially women, to avoid off-road bikeways, particularly after dark or when other riders aren’t likely to be present. And may have contributed to the hit-and-run death of Erin Galligan in Santa Monica last year, as she chose to ride through a dangerous construction area on PCH rather than take her chances on the dark, secluded beachfront bike path just a few feet away.

It’s not that bike paths are inherently dangerous. It’s the fact that assaults like this are relatively rare that makes them so shocking.

But it’s an inherent problem with virtually any off-road pathway that while they offer protection from motor vehicles, large sections of the paths are likely to be out of public view and rarely, if ever, patrolled by the police, providing a secluded location for anyone with evil intent.

In fact, in the 2008 assaults, it became clear that the LAPD didn’t even know there was a Ballona Creek bike path, let alone where it was. A problem compounded by the three separate police agencies — LAPD, Culver City PD and LA Sheriff’s Department — responsible for various sections of the bikeway.

None of whom I have ever seen patrol the pathway while riding there myself.

That lack of police protection means it’s up to you keep an eye out for dangerous situations and people or circumstances that just don’t look right. Just as it would be if you were walking or riding through a secluded alley or parking garage, or any other place where an assault could be hidden from public view.

Though how you avoid someone throwing a bike at you is beyond me.

Update: Neumann forwards another report from a friend showing the long history of violence on the bikeway, this one dating back more than 20 years.

Flashback to: Wed Nov 27, 1991 Ballona Creek bike path. Back then there was no fence between the projects and the bike path. I was attacked by a gang while riding home from my office in Beverly Hills. They pulled me off the bike. One of them cold cocked me. I took off running. They caught me. Struck me on the side of the head (with a bike helmet on – no less) with either a gun or a pipe. While on the ground that night I thoroughly believed it was going to be my last day on this planet. But, they grabbed my backpack and ran away. (They got my wallet and a Rolex.) I was in shock. I had a fractured zygomatic (temple) arch. They never caught the culprits. My doctor failed to diagnose my fracture. It healed broken. I had to have corrective surgery which resulted in an infection/abscess. More surgery. A week in Torrance Memorial on 24 hour IV antibiotics. Lost 20 pounds. Necrosis to my jaw bone. Followed up with corrective surgery and bone removal. I have permanent limited opening of my jaw. I never thought anything could rattle me but I could not walk down a street without looking over my shoulder for over a year. I refused to ride that stretch of Ballona Creek for over 15 years. I will only ride it now if I am with others. A couple of weeks after I was assaulted a guy was shot and killed on his bike in the same stretch. I knew him. He worked at that corner mini-mart up from the MB Pier (where Skechers is now). Anyhow, I hope your friend is OK. Truly.

Update 2: The victim of the assault has been identified as Manhattan Beach school board member Bill Fournell; he was released from the hospital after five days with a broken collarbone, broken ribs and punctured lungs. 

Manhattan Beach Patch places the assault at around 6 pm on July 19th, between the Higuera and Dusquesne bridges.

………

Maybe they really are out to get us.

According to multiple reports, a Redlands man is under arrest for deliberately aiming his car at number of bike riders in a string of attacks this past weekend.

Redlands police arrested 26-year old John McDonald on charges of assault with a deadly weapon after he repeatedly attempted to ram bicyclists along Sunset Drive with his Honda Civic. In at least one case, he swerved across the roadway in an effort to hit a cyclist riding in the opposite direction, forcing the rider off the road.

More frightening, police responded to similar calls throughout the weekend, including two on Sunday, suggesting that the attacks continued over at least a two-day period.

Under the circumstances, it seems like a miracle that no one was seriously injured.

Or worse.

And yet, when they finally did arrest him, McDonald was held on just a $50,000 bond. I guess trying to kill someone with your car isn’t considered all that serious unless you succeed.

Anyone with information is urged to call Redlands police at (909) 798-7681.

………

Finally, police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who plowed into a group of cyclists at the monthly San Jose Bike Party, injuring two riders and leaving one with a broken hip and skull.

Clearly, hit-and-runs are not just an LA problem.

They seem to occur with frequency wherever motor vehicles come in contact with soft and breakable flesh.

Four months after a bike rider was fatally injured in a hit-and-run, Redlands police say it never happened

Something smells a little fishy here.

Last week I wrote about a Redlands bike rider who tragically died months after she was critically injured in an October hit-and-run.

Laura Lee Jones was reportedly hit from behind by a car traveling at an estimated 45 to 55 miles an hour; police asked the public to be on the alert for a newer black sedan with damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.

Now they say it didn’t happen.

I’ll let a Redlands resident take up the story in an email I received Tuesday evening.

Thought I should send this your way as a follow up to your Feb 19 post about Laura Lee Jones, who passed away after an apparent hit-and-run in Redlands last October.  This is from the Redlands Police Department Facebook update this afternoon.

Fatal October accident determined not to be hit-and-runAn October traffic collision that resulted in the death of woman earlier this month was determined not to be a hit-and-run accident as initially believed.The collision occurred in the eastbound lanes of Lugonia Avenue at Grove Street at about 6:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. The victim, 51-year-old Laura Lee Jones, was critically injured. She died Feb. 3 of injuries sustained in the accident. Early witness reports described a black vehicle that initially struck Jones and left the scene before she was struck by another vehicle which did stop. Police conducted an investigation, examining physical evidence at the scene and reinterviewing witnesses, and determined that the first vehicle was not involved in the accident. The driver of the vehicle that struck Jones was determined not at fault and no charges have been filed.Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681. Anonymous tips can be provided by texting 274637 using the keyword “REDTIP.” Certain non-emergency crimes may also be reported online using the Redlands Police Department’s CopLogic reporting system at

http://ci.redlands.ca.us/police/coplogic/start-report.html.

I’m really trying to be reasonable here. This accident happened less than 2 miles from my home. Yes, it is a busy street, and yes, it was dark.

Initial reports stated that witnesses reported that a black vehicle had hit the victim and fled east toward Mentone without stopping. I didn’t ever see a report that talked about the second car hitting her at that time. Now that she’s dead, they re-interview witnesses and decide that the black car didn’t hit her after all? The car that supposedly had front end, windshield and roof damage didn’t even hit her?  Did the second car that stopped have damage, because if it’s the only car that hit her, it should have. The second car isn’t even mentioned until updates this month after the vigil her friends held for her at the site where she was hit.

http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/news/ci_21871792/hit-and-run-vehicle-injures-cyclist-redlands-police

http://www.sbsun.com/ci_21871792/hit-and-run-vehicle-injures-cyclist-redlands-police?IADID=Search-www.sbsun.com-www.sbsun.com

Regardless of who hit her, she was nailed from behind and she died. Some driver should face a charge of some sort. Name the driver that hit her so there is at least a squinch of accountability.

Funny how the story changes completely only after the victim died.

Suddenly she was killed by a second car that hadn’t existed in the press or police reports in more than three months before Jones died. And the first car, which supposedly sustained extensive front end damage, never touched her.

Not that that strains credibility or anything.

It’s possible, of course. By now, we should all know that a speeding car can cause a rider to fall without ever actually making contact. Yet that doesn’t make the driver any less at fault.

In this case, though, police apparently ignore witness statements to conclude it’s just another case of harm, but no foul.

So maybe it’s just a case of exceptionally bad PR.

Maybe if the Redlands police had updated the investigation as they went on, rather than doing a complete 180 after Jones death, it might not strain their credibility to such a degree.

Maybe if they’d announced publicly that they’d found the driver and determined he wasn’t at fault months ago, it might be more believable.

Or maybe if they’d even mentioned the mere existence of the second vehicle, it might not seem like they’d pulled it out of their… well, hats.

Maybe they’ve just done an incredibly bad job of keeping the public informed. Or maybe there’s something else going on here.

Speaking strictly for myself, I’d like to know who was driving that black sedan.

Because something certainly seems rotten in the state of Redlands.

A bad year gets worse, as Redlands bike rider dies from injuries suffered in October hit-and-run

Last year was a bad one for SoCal cyclists. And now word is coming out that it was worse than we thought.

The San Bernardino Sun reports on a vigil held last night for Laura Lee Jones, who died two weeks ago from injuries she suffered in an October hit-and-run.

The 50-year old Redlands resident, who did not own a car, was riding her mountain bike east on Lugonia Avenue near Grove Street around 6:45 pm on Friday, October 26th when she was hit from behind by a car traveling at an estimated 45 to 55 miles per hour. The car, described as a newer black 4-door sedan with tinted windows, fled the scene without stopping; the vehicle reportedly suffered damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.

The road narrows at that intersection, with the eastbound side going from two lanes to one just before Grove Ave. However, there’s no word on whether that may have contributed to the wreck.

Jones was in a coma for a month following the collision, and was unable to move or speak for weeks afterward. The paper does not give a cause of death, but says it is unclear if her death was directly linked to the collision.

According to the Sun, the collision is still under investigation; anyone with information is urged to call Redlands Police Dispatch at 909-798-7681.

If the death can be tied to the injuries Jones suffered as a result of the collision, the driver could face substantially increased penalties for the hit-and-run.

If he or she is ever caught.

Simply put, there is never, ever any excuse for fleeing the scene of a collision. Those who do should face mandatory homicide charges if their victim dies, since they callously and knowingly left their victim to die on the streets. And they should automatically lose their drivers licenses for life, since they have shown themselves unfit to be behind the wheel.

Jones’ death increases the final total of 2012 cycling fatalities in Southern California to 75, 10 of which occurred in San Bernardino County — which is about 75 and 10 too many, respectively. Fourteen of those resulted from hit-and-run collisions, with three in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Laura Lee Jones and all her family and loved ones.

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